How to Create a Will Plan
It’s not pleasant to think about it, but you know you need one. So how do you prepare for your meeting with your attorney to assist her in writing a will? Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Inventory Your Assets
One of the first things that you can do to get started with the will writing process is to inventory your assets. This may take a bit of research but it is an important and necessary step. Your inventory should include material items of monetary value such as your home, your jewelry, and your car. You can also include items that are sentimental in value, such as a collection or family heirloom.
Once you have included your material possessions, then make sure to include all monetary assets, such as money in savings accounts, 401k, or investments. Though it may seem like a huge undertaking to inventory all of your belongings, this is an important step. You cannot decide how to distribute your estate if you don’t know what you have, how much you have or how it is owned.
Appoint Guardians for Young Children
Though it can be very difficult to think about leaving your young children without a parent, you need to include instructions in your will regarding the care for your children if you pass before they become adults. Discuss this decision with the person or family that you are considering to make sure that they are amenable and capable of guardianship. If you have a beloved family pet, you will want to state your wishes regarding your furry or feathered family member as well.
Make the Tough Decisions:
Include a HealthCare Power of Attorney and Living Will
The more detailed information that you can include in your Estate Plan, the fewer decisions your grieving loved ones will have to make on your behalf. Your Plan should include a separate document called a living will, which states your end of life planning wishes if you become incapacitated and can’t speak for yourself. Your living will should provide instructions regarding life prolonging decisions, including life support and artificial nutrition and hydration. Your Plan should also include a HealthCare Power of Attorney so that the proper medical care can be provided to you according to your wishes.
In addition to your living will and health care power of attorney, your Plan should also include any wishes that you have for your body after death such as organ donation, cremation or burial. Any details that you can include in your Plan regarding your funeral will also help ease the burden of tough decision making for your loved ones.
Consider All of Your Beneficiary Options
Writing a will is not as simple as just leaving everything to your children; you should consider all of your options regarding potential beneficiaries. Is there a cause or charity that is important to you? If so, then include it in your will. You can leave a monetary donation, or start a fund that can continue to provide long after you are gone.
Know the Laws Regarding Your Will
When deciding who gets what in your will, your attorney needs to consider how taxes factor into the equation. There are federal laws, as well as laws which vary from one state to the next. In addition, assets such as 401K and IRA accounts can include forms which override instructions in a will. It pays to do your research in this area.
Consult an Estate Attorney
Writing a will is something that we all need to do, but it needs to be done correctly. You may seek the help of a wedding planner when you get married, a real estate attorney when you buy your home, a doctor or midwife when you have a baby, and many other experts for your important life events that occur minimally or only once. Your death, and the distribution of everything that belongs to you is a one time life event, and you don’t get any “do overs.”
It is only worth your while to consult an estate attorney who has the proper experience. Consulting an experienced and compassionate estate attorney will make the process less stressful, you can be sure that your legal i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, and you will know that your final wishes will be carried out. With guidance from an estate attorney, you can be confident that your will is written in a way that expresses your wishes.
After reading these instructions on HOW to prepare to have your will written, the next question is WHEN to have a will. That’s an easy one! NOW.